The travel is done, the simulator training is complete, and Scott McLaughlin is ready to race in St. Petersburg.
The triple champion is facing the biggest test of his career with Team Penske in IndyCar racing but cannot wait to get started.
“I’m super pumped to finally get a crack at my first IndyCar race,” McLaughlin said from Florida.
His final full-time Bathurst start came up short with fifth place last weekend, but the disappointment was quickly forgotten as he began the dash to St.Pete.
McLaughlin and his wife Karly flew to Sydney on Sunday night, jetted on a commercial flight to Los Angeles and were quickly transferred to Roger Penske’s private jet to complete his IndyCar commitments.
But they had one big job before they left, completing the purchase of a penthouse pad in Brisbane that will become their future down under base even if the IndyCar trial this weekend turns into a full-time ride – as expected – from 2021.
“It was a quick turnaround from Bathurst since I flew to Charlotte immediately after, so I’ve definitely been moving at a fast but really exciting pace just to get to this weekend.
McLaughlin said the expectation of his IndyCar start has helped fuel him through 2020.
“Feels like it’s been years since I was part of spring training, but due to COVID-19, we had to hold off,” he said.
“But, hey, sometimes the best things are definitely worth the wait. It’s a dream come true to be running an IndyCar race for Team Penske and Roger, especially coming off of such a successful Supercars season.
“I’ve been trying to get to know my team as well as possible virtually for a few months now, so it’s been great being able to see everyone in person and work with them.
“I spent some time last . . . in the simulator as much as I could and spent some time at the race shop, as well, to prepare for this weekend.
“I feel like I’m going to be a quick study and learn a lot really fast.”
Apart from McLaughlin’s rookie start, Team Penske is also involved in the IndyCar championship shoot-out in St. Pete with his team mate Josef Newgarten involved in shoot-out with the championship favourite, Scott Dixon.